Materials Science News

Scientists Develop Graphene Composite to Simplify Ice Removal

January 27, 2016

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Scientists Develop Conductive Material to Simplify Ice Removal

Researchers at Rice University have developed a thin coating of graphene nanoribbons in epoxy that has proven effective at melting ice on a helicopter blade. The coating by the Rice lab of chemist James Tour may be an effective real-time de-icer for aircraft, wind turbines, transmission lines and other surfaces exposed to winter weather, according […]

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Graphene Oxide Layers Deform Evenly Under Gentle Strain

January 21, 2016

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New Graphene Oxide Paper Changes with Strain

New research from Rice University reveals that graphene oxide layers deform evenly under gentle strain and that the mechanical properties of the material change depending on the rate of strain. The same slip-and-stick mechanism that leads to earthquakes is at work on the molecular level in nanoscale materials, where it determines the shear plasticity of […]

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Voltage-Controlled Switchable Material Could Enable New Memory Chips

January 20, 2016

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Switchable Material Could Enable New Memory Chip Design

A new thin-film material whose phase and electrical properties can be switched between metallic and semiconducting could lead to new memory chip designs. Two MIT researchers have developed a thin-film material whose phase and electrical properties can be switched between metallic and semiconducting simply by applying a small voltage. The material then stays in its […]

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New Material Can Store Solar Energy During the Day and Release it Later as Heat

January 13, 2016

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A New Way to Store Solar Heat

Engineers from MIT have developed a new material could harvest sunlight by day and release heat on demand hours or days later. Imagine if your clothing could, on demand, release just enough heat to keep you warm and cozy, allowing you to dial back on your thermostat settings and stay comfortable in a cooler room. […]

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New Device Harnesses the Energy of Small Bending Motions

January 6, 2016

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New Device Harnesses the Energy of Small Bending Motions

Using a new method based on electrochemical principles, engineers at MIT have developed a new device that could provide electrical power source from walking and other ambient motions. For many applications such as biomedical, mechanical, or environmental monitoring devices, harnessing the energy of small motions could provide a small but virtually unlimited power supply. While […]

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Engineers Develop New Lightweight Metal from Carbide Nanoparticles

December 24, 2015

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Magnesium Infused with Dense Silicon Carbide Nanoparticles

Using magnesium infused with dense silicon carbide nanoparticles, engineers from UCLA have developed an exceptionally strong and lightweight metal that could be used for airplanes, cars, mobile electronics and more. A team led by researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has created a super-strong yet light structural metal with […]

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Researchers Improve Bulk Metallic Glass Nanostructures

December 23, 2015

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Guided Evolution of Bulk Metallic Glass Nanostructures

Scientists from Yale University have figured out a way to refine bulk metallic glasses to improve their electrochemical performance. Results of the research, based in the lab of chemical and environmental engineering professor André D. Taylor, are published in the December 22 issue of Advanced Materials. Bulk metallic glass (BMG), also known as amorphous metal […]

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Scientists Develop a New Class of Superhydrophobic Nanomaterials

December 10, 2015

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New Superhydrophobic Coating Protects Without the Price

Scientists at Rice University have developed a new class of superhydrophobic nanomaterials that might simplify the process of protecting surfaces from water. A material made by scientists at Rice University, the University of Swansea, the University of Bristol and the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis is inexpensive, nontoxic and can be applied to a variety […]

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New Phase of Carbon Allows Researchers to Make Diamond Structures at Room Temperature

December 2, 2015

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Researchers Make Diamond at Room Temperature

Researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered a new phase of solid carbon and have developed a technique for using this carbon to make diamond-related structures at room temperature and at ambient atmospheric pressure in air. The new phase of solid carbon, called Q-carbon, is distinct from the known phases of graphite and diamond. […]

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New Synthetic Hydrogel is Tougher Than Natural Adhesives

November 9, 2015

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New Hydrogel is Tougher Than Natural Adhesives

Engineers from MIT have developed a method to make synthetic, sticky hydrogel that is more than 90 percent water. The hydrogel, which is a transparent, rubber-like material, can adhere to surfaces with a toughness comparable to the bond between tendon and cartilage on bone. Nature has developed innovative ways to solve a sticky challenge: Mussels […]

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Quantum Process Significantly Boosts the Energy That Can Be Harnessed from Sunlight

November 6, 2015

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Researchers Significantly Boost the Energy That Can Be Harnessed from Sunlight

A newly published study details how a quantum process increases the number of electrons produced when light strikes a metal-dielectric interface. Researchers believe this finding could lead to better solar cells or light detectors. The new approach is based on the discovery that unexpected quantum effects increase the number of charge carriers, known as electrons […]

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Engineers Design Nanoparticles to Track Cells and Interactions Within Them

November 2, 2015

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Engineers Design Nanoparticles to Track Cells and Interactions

Engineers from MIT have developed new protein nanoparticles that allow scientists to track cells and interactions within them. MIT engineers have designed magnetic protein nanoparticles that can be used to track cells or to monitor interactions within cells. The particles, described today in Nature Communications, are an enhanced version of a naturally occurring, weakly magnetic […]

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Scientists Reveal New Lithium-Oxygen Battery Design

October 30, 2015

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New Design May Lead to the Ultimate Battery

Using a highly porous graphene electrode, scientists have developed a lab-based demonstrator of a lithium-oxygen battery which has higher capacity, increased energy efficiency and improved stability over previous designs. Scientists have developed a working laboratory demonstrator of a lithium-oxygen battery which has very high energy density, is more than 90% efficient, and, to date, can […]

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New Graphene Based Catalyst Shows Promise for Clean, Inexpensive Hydrogen Production

October 21, 2015

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New Catalyst Holds Promise for Clean, Inexpensive Hydrogen Production

New research from Rice University reveals that graphene doped with nitrogen and augmented with cobalt atoms has proven to be an effective, durable catalyst for the production of hydrogen from water. The Rice lab of chemist James Tour and colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of Texas at San Antonio and the […]

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Engineered Viruses Provide Quantum-Based Enhancement of Energy Transport

October 15, 2015

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Quantum Physics and Genetic Engineering Provide Energy Transport

In a newly published study, a team of scientists detail how they used genetically engineered viruses to enhance energy transport in genetically engineered excitonic networks. Nature has had billions of years to perfect photosynthesis, which directly or indirectly supports virtually all life on Earth. In that time, the process has achieved almost 100 percent efficiency […]

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NASA Engineers Successfully Test Heat Shield for Future Mars Exploration Vehicles

October 6, 2015

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NASA Completes Heat Shield Test for Mars Exploration Vehicles

NASA engineers have successfully completed heat shield testing of an Adaptive Deployable Entry and Placement Technology (ADEPT) model under conditions akin to entering the Martian atmosphere. As NASA missions to Mars progress with science and complex human exploration missions, spacecraft will require larger heat shields to protect against the extreme heat of entering a planet’s […]

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Organic Semiconductor Breakthrough Could Literally Reshape Solar Cells

October 3, 2015

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New Breakthrough Could Reshape Solar Cells and Electronic Devices

A team of materials scientists have discovered a way to make organic semiconductors more powerful and more efficient, growing organic semiconductor crystals vertically for first time. Our smartphones, tablets, computers and biosensors all have improved because of the rapidly increasing efficiency of semiconductors. Since the turn of the 21st century, organic, or carbon-based, semiconductors have […]

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Organic Photovoltaic Material Offers Great Promise for Solar Energy

October 2, 2015

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Modeling Electron Excitation in Organic Photovoltaic Materials

Scientists at MIT believe modeling electron excitation in organic photovoltaic material could change the future of solar energy. The semi-conducting plastic is lightweight, flexible, relatively inexpensive, and easy to make. The problem is that, unlike inorganic photovoltaic material, it is not very efficient or stable. But work by Adam Willard, an assistant professor in the […]

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